Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/18

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CHAPTER II.

RICHARD LINCOLN.

The palace of a thousand wings, that nearly two thousand years had gone to build, had been tumbled into ruins in a day, and out of the monstrous confusion no fair structure had yet arisen.

Rich as a crimson sunset, with traditions splendid as sunlit clouds, English Royalty had sunk into the night, and the whole sky was lightless, except where the glory had descended.

The government which had lifted itself like a tower in the eyes and minds of Englishmen for a hundred generations had disappeared, and the ideal government of the people had not yet filled its place.

The British Republic was seventeen years old. For seventeen years King George the Fifth had been an exile in the United States, and the fifty millions of British people had been on trial as self-governors.

Providence had smiled on the young Republic. Its first guardians had been true to their trust; and like the fathers who laid the deep foundations of American freedom, their souls expanded with the magnitude of duty and responsibility.

The world looked on, sympathized, but for weeks and